Towards an asean Model of ‘Responsibility-Sharing’ for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers

In: Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
Kate McMillan Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations Programme, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand,

Search for other papers by Kate McMillan in
Current site
Google Scholar
Sriprapha Petcharamesree Senior Lecturer, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Nakornpathom, Thailand,

Search for other papers by Sriprapha Petcharamesree in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



The Andaman Sea crisis of 2015 focused global attention on asean’s response to mass refugee flows and generated calls for greater regional cooperation to protect the rights and safety of forced migrants. Such calls draw from the concept of ‘responsibility-sharing’; a concept that has long underpinned the international refugee regime. Scholars have responded to this challenge by identifying a range of ways in which asean countries might benefit from sharing responsibility for the refugees and asylum-seekers in their region. Based on interviews with 40 key asean-based actors working on migration and refugee issues across the governmental and non-governmental sectors, this article seeks to understand how the concept of responsibility-sharing for refugee protection is understood in four Southeast Asian countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. While it finds common agreement among the interviewees that the Andaman Sea crisis was a humanitarian disaster and that existing approaches to refugee issues in the region are ineffective, it also finds little to suggest that a regional approach to refugee issues is likely to develop in the short-to-medium term. On the other hand, interviewees identified a wide range of mechanisms through which bilateral, multilateral and global initiatives might assist the region to deal with refugee and asylum issues. Linking refugee issues with other issues that concern asean Member States and incremental progress towards embedding regional human rights norms via asean human rights institutions are identified as the most fruitful pathways towards regional cooperation to protect refugee rights and safety.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1141 358 17
Full Text Views 107 24 2
PDF Views & Downloads 253 44 5